Ara Allen’s 100th birthday bash is on Sunday
Published 10:44 pm Thursday, July 31, 2014
Ara Allen’s eyes brightened. He smiled in remembrance of his school days at the old school in Springhill.
“When I was down by the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup,
In every hole the sea came up
Till it could come no more.”
Allen will celebrate 100 years of a joyfully lived life on August 6 and the words of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “At the Sea-Side” are as clear in his mind today as they were 90-odd years ago when he was a schoolboy.
Although Allen had never dug the sandy shore or seen the sea come up, through Stevenson’s poem, he experienced those wonderful things just as if he had.
Allen was born to Arnie and Maudie Allen in Pike County “down around Allentown” on August 6, 1914. He grew up on a farm in the Springhill area. His family lived a hard scrabbled life but it was a good life, he said.
Allen worked the fields, plowed a mule and shot wild game with a slingshot. When he wasn’t working or getting ready to work, he “tried my best” to go fishing. He supports his big fish tale with a 12-pound trophy bass that was “yea, big.”
Allen said he went to the sixth grade in school but later attended adult school to extend his education.
His first wife died and he married his second wife Clara when he was 32 and she was 18.
“His given name ends with ‘ra’ and so does mine,” Clara Allen said with a smile. “So, we were meant to be together. We’ve had a blessed life.”
Clara Allen had been called to preach and her husband supported her calling.
“The Lord called me and I was true to it — we were true to it,” she said. “Ara was later called to preach so we were both ordained ministers and pastored churches in Pike, Barbour and Bullock counties. The couple was instrumental in the building of the Assembly of God church in Jack. They are members of the Mt. Olive Assembly of God Church where she preaches from time to time.
Had Allen not lost his hearing, he would join his wife in the pulpit.
Allen said she and her husband have faced many challenges in their lives and they have been able to accomplish the things that were in God’s will for them.
“We have been blessed with good health and to have been a part of the lives of many people,” she said. “When we were blessed to be able to join couples in marriage, we told them that no two people are going to always agree. There will be disagreements and you handle them by talking through them and with prayer and then let that be the end of it.”
The Allens said they have talked and prayed through hard times and good times.
Prayer has guided their lives and will continue to guide their lives, they said.
“Ara has asked the Lord, if it be His will, to give him August 6, 2014,” she said.
On that day, Ara Allen will be 100 years old – a joyful 100 years old.
But the celebration of Allen’s long and well-lived life will begin on Sunday at Mt. Olive Assembly of God.
Pastor Ashley Faulk’s message will follow one of Allen’s favorite scriptures and one that he often used as the basis for his own messages from the pulpit.
Following the 11 a.m. service, the church will host a covered dish dinner in honor of Allen’s 100th birthday. All family members and friends are invited.